Today ABC announced that the series “Work It” has been cancelled after two episodes. GLAAD and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organizations including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) had spoken out against the series for its potential to cause harm to transgender people. The series debuted on January 3, 2012 to low ratings, and, according to Entertainment Weekly, dropped another 20 percent this week.
“While many of ABC’s positive and groundbreaking portrayals of LGBT people have been critical and popular successes, the public had little interest in this outdated show,” said Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs and Communications at GLAAD. “As a result of this campaign, an important dialogue has been started in Hollywood and mainstream media about the real discrimination faced by transgender people today.”
For more about GLAAD’s campaign and to read critiques from LGBT advocates and organizations visit www.glaad.org/workit.
Last month, after viewing the pilot, GLAAD placed a full page ad in media industry publication Variety with HRC. The organizations also published a joint opinion piece on the Huffington Post. The Variety ad noted that “by encouraging the audience to laugh at the characters’ attempts at womanhood, the show gives license to similar treatment of transgender women.”
GLAAD and HRC included photos of transgender Americans, legal facts and statistics from a recent report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force on the discrimination that transgender Americans face:
- Transgender Americans can be legally fired in 34 states today simply for being who they are.
- 97% of self-identified transgender people reported being harassed or abused at work.
- 26% reported losing their jobs because they are transgender.
GLAAD stated on its site that while the show did not explicitly address transgender people, many viewers unfamiliar with the realities of being transgender will still make the connection.
Previously the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, transgender writers including Autumn Sandeen of Pam’s House Blend, the Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative and the Transgender Law Center spoke out against the show’s promos. Women’s advocacy groups and members of the Puerto Rican community have also criticized the show’s premise and jokes.
According to ABC, ‘Work It’ centered on two unemployed men who have "learned the hard way that the current recession is more of a 'man-cession' and their skills aren't in high demand." One finds out that a pharmaceuticals company is hiring sales reps, but only female sales reps. He goes to the interview dressed in heels, a skirt, and makeup and gets hired as a woman.